Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Today’s bombings in Iraq

I am sorry to see the three bombings that killed at least 29 people in Baqubah today, but I am not using the "unraveling" title on this because I think the current bombings in Iraq are simply an attempt to scare people before this Sunday’s election. They may get media attention but don’t seem to ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

I am sorry to see the three bombings that killed at least 29 people in Baqubah today, but I am not using the "unraveling" title on this because I think the current bombings in Iraq are simply an attempt to scare people before this Sunday's election. They may get media attention but don't seem to me necessarily to represent any long-term trend.

The big question in my mind is what happens in the three months after the election. How long will it take to form a government? And will that process exacerbate ethnic and sectarian tensions? If we don't see an Iraqi government by June 1, I will be very concerned.

It isn't a "dark victory," either. For fun, read aloud this Newsweek piece and substitute "Vietnam" and "Saigon" for Iraq and Baghdad. Reads like a Luce product circa 1967. Or maybe China 1946, for that matter. Funny how a Western symphony orchestra and a store selling Johnny Walker are such perennial signs of a breakthrough in a land war in Asia. All we need is a scholarly Asian president who enjoys reading Shakespeare in his rare moments of relaxation. Speaking of the Lucites, Time magazine does a much better job of describing the outlines of post-occupation Iraq. And the AP reports that a new warrant for the arrest of Mookie has been issued. Interesting timing. 

I am sorry to see the three bombings that killed at least 29 people in Baqubah today, but I am not using the "unraveling" title on this because I think the current bombings in Iraq are simply an attempt to scare people before this Sunday’s election. They may get media attention but don’t seem to me necessarily to represent any long-term trend.

The big question in my mind is what happens in the three months after the election. How long will it take to form a government? And will that process exacerbate ethnic and sectarian tensions? If we don’t see an Iraqi government by June 1, I will be very concerned.

It isn’t a "dark victory," either. For fun, read aloud this Newsweek piece and substitute "Vietnam" and "Saigon" for Iraq and Baghdad. Reads like a Luce product circa 1967. Or maybe China 1946, for that matter. Funny how a Western symphony orchestra and a store selling Johnny Walker are such perennial signs of a breakthrough in a land war in Asia. All we need is a scholarly Asian president who enjoys reading Shakespeare in his rare moments of relaxation. Speaking of the Lucites, Time magazine does a much better job of describing the outlines of post-occupation Iraq. And the AP reports that a new warrant for the arrest of Mookie has been issued. Interesting timing. 

And Karl Rove has written a book that says, kind of, that they might have handled this whole Iraq thing badly. You think? 

(HTs to Steve Coll for the Howard Hart blog, and to Juan Cole for the Sadr warrant.)

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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